Ippo Makunouchi is a loser. He has no friends, he spends his free time helping his mom with work, and he's constantly being beaten up by bullies. But that all changes when one day he's saved from another beating by Takamura, an up-and-coming boxer. Soon, Ippo turns his life around with a passion for the newly discovered sport, but his new lifestyle is far from easy! Before he can even dream of becoming champion, he'll have to overcome a slew of fierce rivals and learn what 'dedication' really means.
Joe is a wandering orphan and street fighter who is looking for his purpose in life. One day, Joe meets his future coach Dampei who notices his tremendous fighting talent and wants to train him no matter what; however, rather than using this opportunity for good, Joe instead uses it to get easy money from Dampei and concoct a scam using local children. As one would suspect Joe is soon sent to jail, but Dampei doesn’t give up his hopes for the boy and vows to continue his training via letters. Will Joe give up his shady ways and become a world class boxer?
Mitsui Ayane is a spunky girl who dreams of becoming a wrestling champion. Unfortunately, her All-Japan wrestling auditions flop, leaving her on the fast track to nowhere! Luckily, the owner of Tangay Gym gives her an offer she can't refuse: train with him and become the best. What Ayane doesn't know, however, is his dubious plans to train her to fight in the arena of kickboxing instead! With newfound pressure and the possibility of being expelled, can Ayane rise to the test and prove her strength, or simply become a failure?
Though not the same type of sports anime, Hajime no Ippo and Ayane's High Kick are somewhat similar. Both main characters are people pursue their sports when given the opportunity to advance. In both animes, you see Ayane and Ippo get built from scratch into tomorrow's champions. Some of the locations are similar, too; for instance, both Ippo and Ayane fight in Kourakuen Hall, a real life venue where actual boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, and mixed martial arts bouts are held.
Born beneath the gallows tree from which his dead mother hung, Guts has always existed on the boundary between life and death. After enduring a terrible childhood, he spends his adulthood in brutal combat, pitting his strength against others in order to build his own. Life is simple enough for Guts until he meets Griffith, the inspirational, ambitious, and beautiful leader of the mercenaries, the Band of the Hawks. When Guts loses to Griffith in a duel, he is forced to join the group, and, despite himself, finds a sense of camaraderie and belonging amongst them. However, as Griffith leads his soldiers from victory to victory, the bloody wars and underhanded politics reveal a side to him that nobody quite expected. Can Guts, a simple warrior, defend those who have come to mean the most to him, all the while struggling not to lose to the darkness he has carried with him his entire life?
Chihaya Ayase is a famous beauty at her school, but she’s far from a conventional girl. Three years ago in her final year of elementary school, Chihaya and her friend Taichi became infatuated with the card game, Karuta, after connecting with a lonely boy named Arata Wataya. But when the trio graduated from elementary school, they each went their separate ways but shared one common goal: to excel in the game and meet each other at the national championships. Now, Chihaya is attempting to share her passion for the game by creating a competitive Karuta club at school, but when she reunites with Taichi it seems that maybe she’s the only one with the intention of fulfilling their childhood promise...
While Karuta is very likely somthing that you have (or will have) only ever heard of thanks to Chihayafuru, These two series share the same narrative structure and themes:
due to the above points, both shows are highly motivational and are recomended for anyone who currently finds themselves stuck in a rut in their personal lives.
When Koh was eleven years old, he lived a quiet and peaceful life, delivering sporting goods for his family's store and batting frequently at the Tsukishima Batting Center. Though Koh had no interest in baseball, he started the play the sport anyways after a series of events, much to the delight of his best friend, the beautiful Wakaba Tsukishima. However, soon life dealt Koh a tragic turn, changing him forever. Now, years later, Koh attends Seishuu Academy and is soon pulled back into the world of baseball. Alongside Wakaba's talented sister, Aoba; old friend and fighter Nakanishi; and plenty of new teammates and companions, Koh will once more pick up the pitcher's mitt and see if he has what it takes to be a champion.
Both Cross Game and Hamime no Ippo have amazing character development which allows you to relate to the characters even if you aren't a boxer/baseball fan. Both have a fantastic plot, combined with the appeal of competitive sports, making a wonderful story! Finally, I didn't feel as if there were very many "filler" episodes in either anime (although Cross Game is only at 15 episodes at the moment). Enjoy!